Sunday, 24 February 2013

Something to Consider

Today's post is going to be short and not very sweet, I'm afraid. I have been looking at my traffic referrals in my blog and discovered that some of the referring sites are from porn sites. I suggest that if you are putting photos up of your children on your blog, you might want to check your own blog traffic.

I noticed this on my own blog and thought I needed to be more careful about the titles I use for the posts. Then I read something on someone else's blog. She is now shutting her blog down and making it only available by password.

Until next time.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Change is in the Air

There are going to be some slight changes to our routine, however, we are still going to carry on with our homeschooling as it stands.

One of the changes is that I am going to be helping another family who has a struggle with English. They are getting one of their children ready for the English exam and they are having some problems. So I will teach both their son and my daughter the English syllabus. Some families buy courses for their exams and that is definitely the easier route - you know exactly what you need to do and get feedback from the tutors who mark the assignments.

I opted not to go that route for our exams that we are getting ready for because we are enjoying sitting down together and studying the material together.

I also will be starting a job. For the past 14 years I have been self-employed and now I am going to be starting a job where I am actually an employee! That is the other change to our routine. I will be working a few hours a week for a small business that is branching out internationally. I will go to their office to work. Childcare won't be an issue because they know that I homeschool and they are very flexible and we can work around it.

I am also looking forward to another opportunity which I consider to be some professional development for me. This is not based in the UK despite I will be working in the UK. Again, they know that I homeschool and there is going to be flexibility.

You might notice that I am using the term homeschooling rather than the term home educating and that is simply because I am returning to my roots and using the terms that are natural for me to use. It's a bit like referring to chips as fries and crisps as chips or calling a boot the trunk. I prefer to call it homeschooling and always have :-)

Thursday, 21 February 2013

One-to-One is Working Well

I am finding that my one-to-one system of teaching is working much better than the three of us sitting at the table working together but each girl working on their own lessons. I am very structured in my approach with the girls and at the same time I follow their lead. The exams we are working toward are all of L's choices. She chose the specification, she chose the exam board and she has chosen the topics she has been and will continue studying.

M also has choice in what she does for lessons. At her age and level, we work on unit studies or topics and then throw some Math and Language Arts worksheets for good measure. I suggest topics to her and she decides whether she wants to learn about them or not. She has a very busy social life too and yesterday she had three friends around for a visit. This is a weekly or fortnightly occurrence which is good for her.

After the exams in May/June are finished, we will crack on with the next syllabus in the hopes of her being ready for that exam in November. She is hoping to do five exams during the next school year. She is really excited about the possibility of being finished her qualifications a year ahead of her schooled peers as she would like to attend college a year early.

If you are looking at going down the exam route for your child I do not recommend getting ready for two essay exams at the same time! It is very intense. It is a lot of content to remember and study. Thankfully there are gaps of a week to ten days in between each of her essay papers!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Coming Up For Air

If anyone who is homeschooling or home educating is preparing someone for the GCSE exams they know that it is quite an intense process. I foolishly believed people who said that it is possible to get someone prepared for an exam in four to six weeks. I thought it would be very easy to do. We do have a lot of information to cover for one of the exams which has three different papers done at three different time slots for a total of nearly five hours. The other exam she is working toward is a three hour exam paper! I have been told that is quite a lot for GCSE level.

GCSEs are two academic years of work and material that has to be covered before the exam. If you are working toward one or two two exams, that it might be possible to cover the material in a year but I do not believe it is possible to get ready for the exams in less than six weeks! Again this might be down to the exams that we are preparing for and might not be typical of all other exams.

We are covering a lot of material for the exams that L is getting ready for and it involves very intense blocks of study time. She even has homework to do in between sessions! That is something she hasn't had for a long time; it is necessary because we are working to a strict deadline now. Before we could take our time and work through things, however, with the exam dates set we are deadline oriented. She also has to write because the two exams she is writing are essay style exams. She needs to get used to writing her thoughts out rather than only discussing them.

M is still working without a concept of deadlines or terms or school holidays. I think that there are opportunities for learning all around and at her age she does not need the confines of term dates and breaks.

I still use themes and topics to direct her learning as I find that a much more interesting way of doing things rather than dividing things out by 'subject'. A band mate of mine told me that is how she is required to teach at the school she works at. The only thing she adds is some Math worksheets for the children because it is a bit more difficult to creatively incorporate Math into a topic. If M were in school, she would be in the same year that my band mate teaches.

I have a lot of other things to get done, so I don't think I will be posting with much regularity.

Until next time...